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Tenth Circle is written in the same accessible style as Judi Picoult's previous books. You know you SHOULD be doing something, but you just want to finish to the next break, the next page, well, OK the next chapter. Then she's left in such a place you just have to read the first bit of the next chapter..... And you don't get anything else done. (At least that is how her books are for me.)
As with all Picoult's books there is a family unit central to the story, and a drama unfolds, as it unfolds it reveals things that members of the family would rather not see the light of day. I know that sounds very formulaic, but that is where any predictability ends. Of the Picoult books I have read the stories are very different. So is this one.
At first I thought the story might unfold in a similar way to "Lucky" by Alice Sebold, but the only real similarity between these two books is that they both feature a rape, and the consequences that unfold afterwards.

There is more than one way to lose a child.

Daniel Stone thought it would never happen to him. How could it, when Trixie's face lit up every time she saw him, when for her whole life he'd been the centre of her world? But recently it seems, without noticing it, his daughter is gone, and in her place is a stranger.

Until the night fourteen-year=old Trixie comes home from a party claiming she was raped, and suddenly she needs him more than ever. Because the whole school knew Jason Underhill broke Trixie's heart, but that doesn't make him a rapist, does it?

For Daniel, there is no doubt: his daughter is innocent. He has failed to protect her once. Now he will do anything to protect her.

Daniel, the father, is a graphic artist, drawing for Marvell comics, his wife, Laura, a college, (Uni for UK readers,) lecturer. Her specialism is Dante's Inferno. This is where the book's title come from, in Dante's Inferno there are only Nine Circles of Hell.
If you wish to know more about Picoult and her books click on the following link. It will take you straight to the info about The Tenth Circle, but if you click home you can find general information, and information about her other books.

This has replaced the Whitbread award.
Some of the titles look very interesting.
I have picked my winners, in my head. Not daft enough to put money on them, but on 3rd of January I would be very interested to see who has won.
One thing I will say Ian Duhig's poetry, what I have read of it, is very powerful. That is the only one I am willing to voice my opinion on.

This is Jasper Fforde's 7th book, the fifth book about Thursday Next.
There are two ways to read a Jasper Fforde novel;
1) just read them straight, as the detective novels they are supposed to be, albeit some very strange circumstances in which Thursday finds herself in, or
2) If you have read widely, the literary allusions Fforde makes are subtle but funny.
Either way the novels are brilliant.
I would have been very confused if I hadn't read the previous books, although the title implies it is a sequel, and I do wonder how many people will have been able to make sense of the book if they hadn't read any of the other books featuring Thursday Next.
That aside, I loved the book. I won't try to explain it, other than, imagine a world where there wasn't just MI5, MI 6, etc, but other things needed investigating, like the true running of time, that fiction ran true to form, mythical creatures weren't mythical but real, and you are part way into the world of Thursday Next.

Fourteen years after she pegged out at 1988 SuperHoop, Thursday Next is grappling with a recalcitrant new apprentice, the death of Sherlock Holmes and the inexplicable departure of comedy from the once hilarious Thomas Hardy novels.

Her idle sixteen-year-old son would rather sleep all day than save the world from imminent destruction, the government has a dangerously high stupidity surplus, and the Stiltonista Cheese Mafia are causing trouble for Thursday in her home town of Swindon.

Then things begin to get bad. As reality Book Shows look set to transplant Reality TV Shows and Goliath invent a trans-fictional tourist coach, Thursday must once again have her wits about her as she travels to the very limits of acceptable narrative possibilities to rescue the reading experience from almost certain destruction....

One last thing about this book, which you will find on Jasper Fforde's website. The first editions have the footnotes missing, most have been recalled. There was a downloadable copy of them on the website.

Jasper Fforde has left the ending open, so it is clear that he will return to Thursday Next....or will he?

Contrary to what one might think upon first glance at the title, this is not a religious book. This is a historical fictional account of the 18 year struggle between cousins Stephen and Maude over the English throne in the 1100s.

In 1066 William the Conqueror conquered England making him the Duke of Normandy and the King of England. His son, Henry, was crowned King of England after his brother William Rufus died and reigned for 35 years. Unfortunately, Henry's eldest legitimate son died during a perilous crossing of the English channel and his only surviving legitimate heir was a daughter whom he'd sent off to Germany at the tender age of 8 to marry the Emperor of Germany, Maude.

The war for the crown ensued when Maude's cousin, Stephen, confiscated the crown upon Henry's death, before Maude could arrive in England from Germany to be crowned. The war ravaged nearly all of England and chroniclers of the time said of this time: Never before had there been greater wretchedness in the country.... And they said openly that Christ and his saints slept. The book closes with Maude's eldest son Henry being crowned king, ushering the age of the Plantagenets.

As a lover of English history, I was eager to read this book and learn about a period of history which has been peripherally featured in another series I've read bits and pieces of. While the story seemed slow at times, I think it was due to the depth of Penman's research. Quite often I felt as though I were right there, witnessing every battle fought. Over all, I think this is a book well worth reading to get good insight into the earliest histories of English royalty.

I'm definitely purchasing the follow-up, which continues the story of the Plantagenets.

Thia book is classed as a 7-11 book. But it is very well written and kept me engrossed for over a week.
The story opens as the Kingdom of Icemark is about to celebrate Yule. News comes that there is an army at the southern edge of Icemark preparing for invasion.
Straight after the Yule celebration The king goes to fight the invaders, the Polypontians. He manages to stop the invasion, but only temporarily. Before long the invaders have to make camp and wait for the coming good weather.
The King has been killed in the battle, and his 14 year old daughter becomes Queen. The story is about how Thirrin, Queen of Icemark gathers to her an unlikely band of allies, and the ensuing battle. Hill does not write down to his readers, and the research he must have done is apparent. He draws on old myths and legends, and pagan beliefs.
The result is a very well crafted easy to read book, that engages the reader from start to finish.

When her father dies in battle, fourteen-year-old Thirrin becomes Queen of the Icemark, a tiny kingdom forever caught between dangerous neighbours.

But she bears a heavy burden. Thirrin must find a way to protect her people from the most terrible invasion her nation has ever known - and do so before the end of winter snows.

The Cry of the Icemark is the glorious story of how she rallies her country and finds some extraordinary allies: Vampires, Wolf-folk and, most noble of all, giant Snow Leopards. But also it's a heartfelt tale of duty and sacrifice, of unexpected laughter and awful certainty, and of a girl whose friendships are forged in the heat of battle.

Don't dismiss this book, because it is meant for children. Over the years I have read some wonderfully written children's books, and this another to add to the list.

This book is from the writer of the TV series "Spooks". And from what I have seen of "Spooks" is in the same vein.
Charlie and George appear to have very mundane jobs. They work together in a photo developing both in one of the London Underground stations. Except that their job at the photo developing booth is just a cover for their real job, but neither knows that the other has another job. Neither knows what the other does, nor ever should do. Until they both receive their next "post". This opens a whole can of worms, and some very tense times follow, coupled with some almost farcical moments.
The novel has a nice circular ending, in that it brings back the opening action in the closing pages of the book. The action is so full of red herrings, it could stock a supermarket fish counter.
The basic premise is that in the secret service one member doesn't know other members. The author then puts two working in close proximity, and gives them both "hits", each having the other as their "hit". The "trust no-one maxim" is tested again and again.
I know that this all sounds a little contrived, but it is a very easy to read book, with short punchy chapters, accessible language, and very believable characters.


This book, by Bernard Cornwell, is one I discovered after recently joining a forum focused on historical fiction. I've been attracted to historical fiction for a number of years, but never really thought about how I might find such books as there's not really a genre for it, per se.

This is the first book I purchased from my TBR (to be read) list I began after joining the forum. The title pretty much gives away what the book is about, at its core. But it's so much more than that. Most people have believed that Stonehenge was built and used by the Druids, which is a false belief as they would've performed rituals in the woods, not out in the open amongst stones. Stonehenge is far older than that, believed to have been built during Britain's Bronze Age.

While the core of the story is the building of the great monument, the surrounding story gives us an idea of the belief system and way of life during this far distant period of time. The story itself revolves around three brothers - Lengar, Camaban and Saban - who vie for control of their tribe and attempt to control the very gods they worship. Ultimately it is Saban who builds the great stone temple which history will later call Stonehenge.

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